Glenn Sorensen

Glenn Sorensen 1968

Lives in Ahus, Sweden. Works in Ahus, Sweden.
Represented by:

Annet Gelink Gallery

Glenn Sorensen has been studying the subject of still lives for many years. In his work, he often exercises reduction making the works bordering the abstract. It is driven by a search for purity and essentiality. This search is reflected in his choice of subject: the objects, sceneries and persons may look easy and everyday.

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Suspension, isolation, anticipation; frozen moments, ghostly flowers and floodlit nights
Although, amongst other subjects, Glenn Sorensen paints pictures of people, most of his work could be considered as variations on the theme of still life – studies of inanimate objects that, conversely, reflect on the endless nuances of the human condition. All of his cool, pared-back, yet oddly lush images are saturated in a mood of intense and suspended isolation. The men and women Sorensen occasionally portrays seem frozen to the spot, as if overwhelmed by their thoughts or unspoken circumstances – only the children bloom. Studies in anticipation, both people and plants appear to be waiting for something to happen, while the sense of something irrevocably lost tugs like a gentle undercurrent beneath these still surfaces; something – as is the nature of painting – that is frozen in the instant of recognition. Perhaps this accounts for the elegiac quality of Sorensen’s work – all that remains of what has been witnessed or felt are these painterly traces. The Australian-born, Swedish-based artist’s painting Behaviour (2009), for example, ostensibly depicts the artist holding an umbrella. He appears, though, to be in such a deep reverie, and the umbrella untouched by either raindrops or wind, that the picture’s apparent subject is only an indication of another, more remote, level of meaning. The palette is cold: Sorensen’s beard and hair are painted in blues as brittle as ice, the umbrella a chilly pale green; the thickness of his sweater demarcated in geometric stripes. The figure is surrounded by an inky background – less night than a melancholic void. The umbrella, held aloft like a flimsy shield, offers scant protection from whatever might be lurking beyond the picture plane (rain? an argument? life?) – all of which might imply a melodrama, but such a reading would be wrong. Behaviour is as delicate and as urgent as someone holding their breath, its title an indication, perhaps, of the reflection that one’s actions often have repercussions too subtle – and perhaps too isolating – for easy representation. Similarly, The Birthday Party (2007–9) depicts two women, as frail as figurines, lit by an unearthly soft orange glow, standing on a gloomy, pale green ground. Despite its title, the only party here is one of shared isolation. The women are dwarfed by their surroundings – one, looking down, clings to the other. It is an utterly ambiguous, oddly touching, scenario; Sorensen told me that it ‘started out as a loose garden painting about colour and space and ended up as a painting about emotion’. It was, he said, ‘a process of reduction and realization’. Sorensen has long been interested in plants. One of his earliest paintings, Cigarette Plant (1997), was a deadpan study of leaves and cigarettes, inspired by the kind of hallucinations prompted by late-night nicotine cravings. Since then he has made countless moody paintings of flowers, leaves and plants in soft, lush lilacs, deep greens, chalky browns and faded fluorescent blues, their details occasionally dissolving into such gorgeous swathes of abstraction that the only indicator of the subject matter is the title. Exercises in both simplification and illumination, single buds, leaves or tendrils – in gardens or delicate vases – appear either floodlit in a dark garden or melting into near-invisibility suffused by white sunlight. At once vague in detail yet specific in their evocation of gorgeous dissolution, their surfaces shimmer like mirages while hinting at something tougher; they’re like filmic, rapidly fading memories of the harsh, bright light of Sorensen’s Australian childhood, recalled in the midst of a long Swedish winter. Around a decade or so ago, Sorensen made paintings of what appeared to be details of bright lily ponds emerging from the shadows. Like post-industrial Monets, they’re simultaneously grubby and fresh, hovering somewhere between a celebration of the subtle splendours of the natural world and a moody lamentation at its spoiling. More recently, his flower paintings increasingly embody human qualities – in Eye and an Eye (2008) and Days (2008), for example, petals droop and stare like exhausted, elegant humans. Similarly, Tenderness (2008) exemplifies Sorensen’s current concerns. Comprising a flower’s stem, its buds and petals conveyed in degrees of chalky creams, its contours glowing slightly against the black of the background, it’s an intensely quiet study in oppositions: decay and life, darkness and illumination, restraint and excess (no flower is modest). It has an air of spiky, lovely, resignation that somehow hints at spring’s return – after all, it happens every year, even at night.
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Frieze
Bevroren beelden van het dagelijks leven
Glenn Sorensen schildert zijn huiselijke omgeving tegen een zwarte achtergrond In elk schilderij van Glenn Sorensen (Australië, 1968) dat nu in galerie Annet Gelink te zien is, is het object geschilderd in heldere, lichte kleuren tegen een zwarte achtergrond. Alsof de schilderijen negatieven zijn die nog ontwikkeld moeten worden. De ongebruikelijke kleurkeuze van lichtgroene, lichtblauwe en witte tinten en de vele lagen verf zijn kenmerkend voor Sorensen, die woont en werkt in Zuid-Zweden. De inspiratie voor zijn kunstwerken haalt Sorensen uit zijn huiselijke omgeving, bijvoorbeeld zijn gezin of een geplukte bloem in een vaas. Het lijkt alsof de rest van de wereld niet bestaat. Het schilderij The Geranium collector's husband springt in het oog. Het is een zelfportret, geschilderd in vaalblauw, met een zwarte achtergrond. Door het kleurgebruik krijgt het iets dromerigs. Sorensen staart bezorgd voor zich uit naar een geranium. Van een afstand lijkt het zelfportret te leven, van dichtbij lijkt het een bevroren beeld. Volgens de galeriehouder houdt de vrouw van Sorensen van geraniums. In de Zweedse winter moeten ze naar binnen en dan staan ze in het atelier. Omdat Sorensen de enige is die daar komt, heeft hij zichzelf samen met de geraniums geschilderd. Ook in andere schilderijen komen de geraniums regelmatig terug. Afgelopen winter was de zwaarste in Zweden sinds 1929. In The Wanderers uit 2010 lopen twee mensen dik ingepakt en met stijve handen door de halve meter hoge sneeuw. Toch zijn ze door Sorensen geschilderd in zongele kleuren. Sorensen is zijn kunstenaarscarrière begonnen met performances en installaties, maar hij is gaan schilderen toen zijn leven veranderde en hij 'niets meer te zeggen wist'. Volgens Sorensen gaan zijn schilderijen over simpele dingen: schoonheid, gevoelens en schilderen. Wat het schilderij voorstelt, is niet belangrijk, zegt hij, wat het effect ervan is, wat voor gevoel het opwekt, wel. Hij houdt van de onschuld en schoonheid van bloemen, maar zijn schilderijen zijn geen stillevens. De bloemen die hij schildert zijn slechts een instrument voor een effect dat hij beoogt. Het werk van Sorensen was eerder te zien in The Royal Academy of Arts in Londen. Glenn Sorensen: The Valley Floor, nog t/m 26 juni in Annet Gelink Gallery, Laurierstraat 187-189, Amsterdam. Prijzen: euro 3000-euro 7000. Twee mensen lopen dik ingepakt en met stijve handen door de sneeuw
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Glenn Sorensen 1968 Born in Sydney, Australia Lives and works in Åhus, Sweden Associate Professor, The Royal Danish Academy of The Fine Arts, Copenhagen Education 1990 Helsinki Academy of Fine Arts, Helsinki, Finland 1986-88 City Art Institute, Sydney, Australia Solo exhibitions 2019 Corvi Mora, London 2016 Opener, Corvi-Mora, London 2015 Future Houses, Annet Gelink Gallery, Amsterdam 2012 The Fly, the Dahlia and the Picket Fence, Annet Gelink Gallery, Amsterdam, NL From Here, Roslyn Oxley9 Gallery, Sydney, AU Tenderbelly, Corvi-Mora, London, UK Iris, Kristianstads Konsthall, (with Eva Larsson), Kristianstad, SE 2011 Geranium Empire, Galleria Raucci / Santamaria, Naples, IT 2010 The Sugar Cane Allegory, The Pump House Gallery, London, UK The Valley Floor, Annet Gelink Gallery, Amsterdam, NL 2009 Lesser Pleasures, Corvi Mora, London, UK 2008 Black Paintings, Galeri Nicolai Wallner, Copenhagen, DE Masonite Loop, Annet Gelink Gallery, Amsterdam, NL 2007 Michael Zink, Munich, DE Kaliman Gallery, Sydney, AU 2006 Galleria Raucci/Santamaria, Naples, IT Corvi-Mora, London, UK 2005 Annet Gelink Gallery, Amsterdam, NL 2004 Galleri Nicolai Wallner, Copenhagen, DK Galleria Raucci/Santamaria, Naples, IT Corvi-Mora, London, UK 2003 The Nordic Watercolour Museum, Skahramn, SE (catalogue) Annet Gelink Gallery, Amsterdam, NL 2002 Gasser & Grunert, New York, US 2001 The Bakery, project space Annet Gelink Gallery, Amsterdam, NL Corvi-Mora Gallery, London, UK Francesca Pia, Bern, CH Galleria Raucci/Santamaria, Napoli, IT 2000 Hummingbirds and Ashtrays, Galleri Nicolai Wallner, Copenhagen, DK Annet Gelink, Amsterdam, NL 1998 Malmö Konstmuseum, Malmö, SE 1995 I don't know why I feel sick-Maybe I got out of bed too quick, Galleri Nicolai Wallner, Copenhagen, DK 1994 Welcome, Ynglingagatan 1, Stockholm, SE Group exhibitions 2017 On the Nature of Things, Annet Gelink Gallery, Amsterdam, NL 2016 Throwing Dirt at the Sun, Tristian Koenig, Victoria 2014 Endoscopia Part 1 and 2, Galerie Bernd Kugler, Innsbruck, AT VIvarium, Corvi-Mora, London, UK 2013 If you will it, it is not a dream, Annet Gelink Gallery, Amsterdam, NL ArtBO International Art Fair Bogota, CO Ik wordt, Voorkamer, Lier, BE Birds, Beasts and Flowers, Galerie Zink, Berlin, DE 2012 VIP Showroom, Annet Gelink Gallery, Amsterdam, NL S, M, L, XL, Galleri Nicolai Wallner, Copenhagen, DK 2011 Groups Who, Roslyn Oxley 9 Gallery, Sydney, AU Moment - Ynglingagatan 1, Moderna Museet, Stockholm, SE First Show, Kaliman Rawlins, Melbourne, AU 2010 BigMinis, CAPC Musée d’Art Contemporain, Bordeaux, FR The Drawing Room, Annet Gelink Gallery, Amsterdam, NL 2009 Den Frie Utstilling, Den Frie, Copenhagen, DK 2008 Politics, Maisterra Valbuena Galeria, Madrid, SP Small Works, Kaliman Gallery, Sydney, AU 15 Year Anniversary Exhibition, Galeri Nicolai Wallner, Kopenhagen, DK 2007 Silly Adults, Galleri Nicolai Wallner, Copenhagen, DK 2006 In Between - from the collection, The Nordic Watercolour Museum, Skarhamn, SE Approaching Landscape, Galerie Zink, München, DE 2005 A Group Show, Kaliman Gallery, Sydney, AU Napoli Presente Poisizione e prospettive dell Arte Contemporanea, curated by L. Hegyi, P.A.N Center for Contemporary Art, Naples, IT Baby Shower, Galleri Nicolai Wallner. Copenhagen, DK 2003 Honey, I Rearranged the Collection, 1a Kempsford Road, London, UK Ten Years Anniversary Exhibition, Galleri Nicolai Wallner, Copenhagen, DK De Bortbjudna, Rooseum Center for Contemporary Art, Malmö, SE 2002 Exchange, Richard Salmon Gallery, London, UK The Galleries Show: Contemporary Art in London, The Royal Academy of Arts, London, UK 2001 Extended Painting, Monica de Cardenas, Milano, IT Drawings, Sommer Contemporary Art, Tel Aviv, IL Opere su Carta, Galleria Sales, Rome, IT Group Show, Galleri Nicolai Wallner, Copenhagen, DK 2000 Premio Michetti, Museo Michetti, Francavilla al Mare, Pescara, IT Corvi-Mora Gallery, London, UK 11th Vilnius Painting Triennial, Contemporary Art Centre, Vilnius, LT 1999 Superiride, Galleria Raucci/Santamaria, Napoli, IT Lè Grând Præmière Opénïng Shöw, Galleri Nicolai Wallner, Copenhagen, Dk 1998 Bokslut, Malmö Konstmuseum, Malmö, SE 1996 Update, Turbine Hallerne, Copenhagen, DK RAM, Portalen, Hundige, DK 1995 MIC, (curated by Henrik Plenge Jakobsen) touring Oberwelt, Stuttgart, Germany, SE Titanic, Turko, FL Ram, Portalen, Hundige, DK 1994 Projekt, Ynglingagatan 1, Stockholm, SE Smells Like Teenspirit, Galleri Nicolai Wallner, Copenhagen, DK No Vancancis, Hanauer Landstrasse 204, Frankfurt am Main, DE Something’s Wrong, Nikolaj Kirke, Copenhagen, DK Weirdos, Saga Basement, Copenhagen, DK Performances 1995 Warm Glow, Stockholm Smart Show, Stockholm. The Warm Affection Trip, Affiks, Lund,SE 1994 New Reality Mix, Stockholm, SE Artists Publications / Monographs 2011 Vitamin P2: New Perspectives in Painting, Phaidon 2009 The Judith Rothschild Foundation Contemporary Drawing Collection, Catalogue Raisonnè, MOMA 2008 Contemporary Art from Australia and New Zealand, Art and Australia, pp.296-299 2003 Glenn Sorensen, The Nordic Watercolour Museum, Skärhamn, Sweden 2001 Glenn Sorensen, Glenn Sorensen, Texts by Jennifer Higgie & Lars Bang Larsen, Artimo Foundation, Amsterdam, 2001 Bibliography 2016 "Palettes d’explorateurs", BeauxArts, February, p.57 2015 "Glenn Sorensen at Annet Gelink", ContemporaryArtDaily.com, November 20 Rudi Fuchs, "Kijken, Kameleontisch", De Groene Amsterdammer, November 19, p.53 Rudi Fuchs, "LOOKING, The dark and the light", De Groene Amsterdammer, November 5, pp. 53-54 2014 Gowri Balasegaram, "Vivarium at Corvi-Mora, London", Droste Effect, February 4 "Time Out Says", Time Out London, January 20 2012 Eva Ström, "Paradoxalt Välgjort", Sydsvenska Dagbladet, March 2 Inside The Mind Of Glenn Sorensen", Phaidon.com, February 1 Carolina Söderholm, "Duo Utmanar Blacken", Kristianstadsbladet, January 27 2011 Martin Herbert, "A Man Out of Time: The Slipping Forms of Glenn Sorensen", Art & Australia, page 494, Volume 48, issue 3, March "BigMinis Book", exhibition catalogue, CAPC, Musée d’art Contemporain, Bordeaux, France 2010 Jennifer Higgie, “Glenn Sorensen”, Frieze, March, pp. 104-115 2008 "Current", Contemporary Art from Australia and New Zealand, edited by Art & Australia, pages 296-299 2006 Jessica Lack, "Glenn Sorensen", The Guide, The Guardian, May 11-17, p.37 2004 Tema Celeste no. 103, Italian edition S. De Stefano, “Da Sorensen a Davide..”, Corriere del Mezzogiorno, 26 March 2004 R. Geldard, “Glenn Sorensen”, Time Out London, 25. Feb - 3 Mar 2004 J. Lack, “Glenn Sorensen”, The Guide - The Guardian, 31. Jan - 6 Feb. 2004 2003 Karen Rosenberg, “Glenn Sorensen”, Frieze, issue 47, pp.87 Jennifer Coates, “Glenn Sorensen”, Tema Celeste , issue 96. pp.91 2002 Roy Exley, “Glenn Sorensen”, Flash Art, January-February. Pp.97-98 2001 Mark Wilsher, “Glenn Sorensen” What’s On, December 5. Pp.25 Filippo Romeo, “Twan Janssen, Glenn Sorensen – Raucci/Santamaria”, Flash Art Italia, No. 228 June/July 2000 Lisbeth Bonde, “Kolobrier og Kniplinger”, Information, January 20 Peter Michael Horung, “Cigarettraeer”, Politiken, January 21 Jorn Ebner, Frankfurter Allgemiene Zeitung, April 8 1999 Ela Caroli, “Superiride, arte e ironia del profondo Nord”, Corriere del Mezzogiorno, December 1, pp.11 Stafania Zuliani, “Monstra.Da Trisorio e da Raucci e Santamaria” II Mattino, November 30. pp.35 Simona Barucco, “Superiride”, Flash Art Italia, No. 219 December/January Collections Moderna Museet, Stockholm, SE Museum of Modern Art, New York, US Nordic Watercolour Museum, Skärhamn, SE Malmö Konstmuseum, Malmö, SE